09/26/10 7:29 PM ET
Fielder's Brewers future in limbo
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Capuano finishes strong, despite early exit
MILWAUKEE -- The good news for Chris Capuano was that his left elbow, the subject of two Tommy John surgeries, was feeling better than ever. The bad news was that Capuano's comeback season probably ended with him walking off the field Sunday with an athletic trainer at his side.Capuano's start against the Marlins in the Brewers' home finale, scheduled to be his last start this season, was cut short when he tweaked a left groin muscle that's been bothering him for weeks. Capuano settled for six very strong innings in a 7-1 win that capped an inspiring comeback from two years lost to injury. "I told myself I wanted to finish this year healthy and in the starting rotation, and I'm happy and I feel blessed that my arm feels absolutely great," he said. "A lot of good things came from this year for me." Sunday marked Capuano's fourth consecutive quality start -- an outing of at least six innings with three or fewer earned runs. At 72 pitches through the end of the sixth, he had allowed only one Marlins run on four hits, and he appeared poised to pitch seven full innings for only the second time this season. But that groin injury, for which Capuano has received daily treatment from the medical staff, started acting up after he dove for a batted ball in the bottom of the sixth. After a discussion with assistant athletic trainer Dan Wright, manager Ken Macha called for reliever Brandon Kintzler. "I kind of felt it grab a little bit," Capuano said. "I saw the doctor and it actually feels pretty good right now. I knew it was going to bug me a little bit for the rest of this year, because it's one of those things that won't go away until you rest it." Now he'll have plenty of time. An 18-game winner for the Brewers in 2006 and an All-Star in '07, Capuano re-injured his surgically-repaired left elbow during Spring Training in '08, and didn't pitch again in the Majors until this June. He is a free agent for the first time after this season and has yet to consider where he will begin '11. "I haven't talked to my agent about it, haven't really talked to my family about it," Capuano said. "This year, [after] having a setback in Spring Training, the goal was to get back to the big leagues and feel healthy. I haven't thought about being in this position yet. We'll go home, talk about it and see what our options are."
Hometown 'kid' Counsell starts home finale
MILWAUKEE -- The pride of Whitefish Bay, Wis. was appreciative of another big ovation from Brewers fans on Sunday. But Craig Counsell will approach his winter of free agency just like he has every other."I'm a free agent, I'm going to take the best offer," Counsell said. "A lot of things go into the best offer. That's the easiest way to put it." One of those things in the past has been the opportunity to play close to his suburban Milwaukee home. Counsell was born in South Bend, Ind., but grew up in Whitefish Bay. His dad worked in the Brewers' front office. But Counsell, who turned 40 last month, also wants an opportunity to win a third World Series ring. If another contender makes a better offer, he will take it. He has yet to have any conversations with Brewers officials about returning in 2011. Counsell is batting .251 in 199 at-bats, often as a fill-in for rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar against the game's top starting pitchers. Manager Ken Macha made sure Counsell was in the starting lineup for Sunday's home finale. The veteran went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Brewers' 7-1 win. "I think he's had a great year," Macha said. "Particularly his defense, there's been, like, absolutely no deterioration whatsoever. He still runs good, throws good, his range is OK, he plays all the positions and he loves the game." Counsell isn't happy with his numbers, but he decided at some point over the summer that he would return for a 16th Major League season in 2011. "I still think I can add something," Counsell said. Those fans hope he's back in a Brewers uniform. "Every time I go up there, they cheer way too loud," Counsell said with a smile. "It's like they're expecting something unbelievable."
Macha must wait to learn managerial future
MILWAUKEE -- It appears the Brewers will play out the season amid managerial uncertainty. General manager Doug Melvin said he's not planning to make public his plans for manager Ken Macha until after the Brewers throw their final pitch and take their final swings of 2010."I'll make all decisions after the season," Melvin said. "Within a few days after the season." The situation is inherently different than 2009, when Melvin declared before the season's final game that Macha would be back for the second year of his contract, and then added a club option for 2011 onto Macha's deal to give him some stability. Now Macha is in something of a state of limbo after a second straight losing season. The Brewers are 73-82 entering the season's final week. Asked how Macha had performed this year, Melvin said, "We'll make all of our evaluations at the end of the season. We've had the injuries taking place with the ballclub. I think Ken is a very sharp baseball guy, a very solid baseball guy."